BERLIN, March 14 (Reuters) – Carmaker Volkswagen
plans to cut up to 4,000 jobs at its plants in Germany by
offering early or partial retirement to older employees in a
move that could cost several hundred million euros, company
sources said on Sunday.
Volkwagen said in a statement it had agreed a plan with the
works council to open partial retirement to those born in 1964,
while offering early retirement to those born from 1956 to 1960.
Volkswagen said it expected up to 900 workers to opt for
early retirement, while a low number in the thousands would
choose partial retirement, without giving a precise figure.
Two company sources told Reuters 3,000-4,000 positions would
be cut in connection with the programme to be implemented at the
six German plants of the main VW brand, which now employ about
Handelsblatt newspaper, which earlier reported on the plan,
had said the company would cut up to 5,000 jobs.
Volkswagen declined to comment on the cost, which will
depend on how many employees accept the offer. One source
estimated it at close to 500 million euros ($598 million).
As the 83-year old automaker tries to become more of a tech
company modelled on Tesla, Volkswagen said it was
raising the training budget by 40 million euros to 200 million.
Volkswagen said it was also extending a hiring freeze until
the end of 2021. It had previously only been in place until the
first quarter. External hires can only be made in areas like
electric cars, digitalisation and battery cell development.
The Volkswagen Group said in January it would cut overhead
costs by 5% and procurement costs by 7% over the next two years.
($1 = 0.8367 euros)
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz, writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing
by Edmund Blair)